Walking on campus at night can be scary for some students.
“If I’m walking with people after midnight, I do not feel safe. It doesn’t matter who I’m with. It doesn’t matter where I am, I really don’t feel safe,” states psychology and biology student Brittany Borzillo.
The University of Georgia is trying to combat these feelings of unease and went live on a free campus safety app, LiveSafe, on April 5.
LiveSafe is the newest tool in many universities’ tool bags to combat crime and ease students’ minds while on campus. The application is used on over 100 campuses including Georgia Tech, Emory, Georgia State University, and now the University of Georgia. (Here is a map of all 100 locations.)
The campus safety application is a useful for faculty and students to use to report crime and protect themselves. Some of the functions in the app are an interactive map, a virtual walk home, police calling and messaging, an anonymous tip line, and links to important campus resources and information.
John Newton, the Emergency Operations Manager from the Office of Emergency Preparedness, believes the most useful function for students at UGA is the WalkSafe function of LiveSafe.
“Your friend can walk you home virtually and be notified when you return home. The application will send notifications through the app or by text message to your friend” says Newton.
If a person using WalkSafe doesn’t arrive to their destination in the estimated time, there is an option to notify the police. If the police are notified, the app automatically geotags their location.
Students agree that this application will be very useful for them in the future. Borzillo, a sophomore, and Sanaa Abdelmageed, a freshman biology and psychology student, say that they generally feel safe walking home, but there are times where they feel uneasy.
Angela Adams, a master’s degree student in the College of Public Health who interned for the Office of Emergency Preparedness at UGA and at Emory University when they were preparing to launch LiveSafe, sees the campus safety application as a necessity for every college student.
“I actually really like the SafeWalk [feature] –I think it is called SafeWalk—Where you can walk your friend home. That was the most interesting one, so that when I actually saw the app like that was the first thing that I tested out to see if it actually worked on my friend,” says Adams.
The application also offers other functions that can be handy for students. Students can look up important resources such as emergency protocols and on campus support. The app offers interactive maps that inform the user of important places that might be helpful in an emergency and of AEDs.
The app also includes anonymous tipping and the ability to call UGA Police through messages. Adams thinks that these two functions will be very useful to students.
“I know UGA also has … where you anonymously report whatever you see— whether it be an incident or anything suspicious—which is really cool as you can post videos and pictures, and they will geo tag it so you don’t have to put—tell them where it is. Which is good because I know a lot of students are kind of ,you know, they don’t want to like give their names out and stuff and get in trouble with their other friends and stuff,”says Adams.
LiveSafe was first developed by Pahlveni and his co-founder Kristina Anderson after both were involved in traumatic violent crimes, including the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.
“I was held up at gunpoint in Washington, D.C on Capitol Hill. And it inspired me to um to come up with better ways to communicate resources with campus and safety,” says Pahlveni,” but more powerful than my story is my co-founder’s, [Kristina Anderson] she is a survivor of the Virginia Tech shootings. She was in that final classroom and was the most wounded survivor. And she was shot 3 times. Luckily, she survived. “
The Office of Emergency Preparedness is preparing to spread word of the application at tables in Tate and at Orientation in the near future.